Microsoft transferred approximately 500 Nokia-related design patents to HMD Global Oy, according to the filings uncovered in the database of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The patent portfolio that the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant yielded to the Finnish tech company doesn’t represent the entirety of Microsoft’s remaining Nokia-related holdings, with the company’s mobile division still owning around 200 design patents that it originally acquired following its purchase of Nokia in mid-2014. It’s currently unclear whether the patents that have now changed hands were part of the original deal that saw Microsoft sell Nokia to the Foxconn-owned FIH Mobile for $350 million and HMD Global Oy being granted a license by Nokia to develop and sell new devices under its brand, or if the transfer was negotiated at a later date.
None of the involved parties have yet issued a comment on the matter in any capacity, though EUIPO’s database reveals that HMD Global Oy now owns a wide variety of new patents that were previously attributed to the Finnish original equipment manufacturer (OEM), including the Lumia Camera user interface (UI) that was touted as being unique and extremely intuitive for its time. It remains to be seen whether HDM Global Oy utilizes some of its newly acquired patents in the future, though it’s understood that the company didn’t go through the trouble of obtaining them just to boost its patent portfolio or license them to third parties. The recently conducted transfer only pertains to patents and Microsoft still holds the majority of Nokia-related trademarks including PureMotion, PureView, and ClearBlack.
HMD Global Oy is currently pursuing a product strategy that’s radically different to the one Microsoft employed when it was still running the Nokia brand, as new Nokia devices are powered by Android and are relatively free of additional software features and changes. The Finnish company previously said that it was developing its own Android user interface but ultimately decided to scrap it after concluding that it cannot provide their consumers with an objectively better experience than that offered by stock Android, though that approach may change in the future now that HMD Global Oy has access to a broader range of established software patents. The company is expected to launch its first flagship offering in the form of the Nokia 8 next month.